Spanish Authorities Seize Two Russian-Owned Superyachts

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Valerie at Ibiza, 2014 (JanManu / CC BY SA 4.0)

Published Mar 15, 2022 9:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

Authorities in Spain have impounded two Russian-owned superyachts, joining in a pursuit of sanctioned assets currently under way across Europe. 

On Tuesday, Spain's transportation ministry confirmed that the 48-meter yacht Lady Anastasia has been detained at the port of Palma de Mallorca. The vessel belongs to the Russian executive Alexander Mikheev, former CEO of defense contractor JSC Russian Helicopters and current CEO of Rosoboronexport, Russia's state-owned weapons export conglomerate. Mikheev was added to the U.S. Treasury's sanctions list on Monday as part of the latest round of American measures targeting Russia's ruling elite. 

A private citizen attempted to immobilize the Lady Anastasia about two weeks before Spanish authorities took action. Shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, the Lady Anastasia's longtime chief engineer - identified as Taras Ostapchuk, 55, a Ukrainian national - flooded and partially sank the vessel. He was charged by authorities in Mallorca and he admitted to the crime, telling authorities that he had no regrets and would "do it again." He was released pending trial and has returned to Kyiv to join the fight against the Russian Army. 

"I knew the water wasn't very deep there . . . so the yacht would maybe sink only 2.5 meters, enough for water to go into the main rooms but it would not sink to the bottom because it is too shallow," he told The Mail Online. "I'm a sailor, and I knew those onboard would have time to collect their possessions and try and save the yacht."

Authorities in Barcelona have also impounded the yacht Valerie, believed to be owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Sergey Chemezov. The Valerie is reportedly valued at $180 million, and she was recently listed for sale for an asking price of about $100 million. She is currently moored at a superyacht repair and maintenance shipyard in the Port of Barcelona, and authorities said that she was ready for departure at the time she was detained. The seizure is temporary: Spanish authorities must now investigate her ownership and attempt to confirm whether the true beneficial owner is an individual sanctioned by the European Union. 

Chemezov is the CEO of Rostec, a major Russian state-owned weapons conglomerate. He began his career a Soviet intelligence agent in the 1980s, like Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the two have worked together since their days in the KGB.

Top image: Valerie at Ibiza, 2014 (JanManu / CC BY SA 4.0)